‘In it for the team’

Women’s basketball prepares with ‘strong’ seniors

The women’s basketball team doesn’t have a set starting lineup, but Head Coach Rick Stein hopes all five seniors are competing for the spots.

“All five of our seniors certainly have a chance to compete for a starting spot and at the very worst, minutes,” Stein said. “I really believe we have 13 players like that.”

The team will transition from having no seniors on the team during the 2015-16 season to five for the start of the 2016-17 season.

Forward Hannah Wascher will join guard Tanner Marcum, forward Tasia Brewer, center Ruta Savickaite and guard Kendyl Dearing as the senior working toward that starting spot.

“We’re just going to come in here and practice everyday and if you get a starting spot, you get a starting spot,” Wascher said. “But I definitely think that we are practicing hard so it could be a possibility.”

“I think we have a really strong senior class,” Stein said. “Not only as players but as people.”

Stein said the group really cares about the team and what’s ahead for them as the season progresses.

“They are in it for the team and not themselves,” he said. “When you have a group like that, a group of seniors who cares about the team, you have a real chance to have some success…Their mindset is team success and how we’re going to get there.”

Wascher has seen a growth in team chemistry this year and that has led to better communication.

“I just think this year we are able to go out there and have fun and know about people,” she said. “We are going know to where she is, and know how she passes, and how they play.”

She said practices for the team have been strong so far.

“We are definitely all on board. Last year we wouldn’t focus on the next play and we would dwell on what had happened and it definitely gave us some setbacks last year,” she said. “We all have bought in, we all agree with it so it definitely is going over pretty well.”

Stein said he has seen a competitiveness in workouts and practices that he hopes carries over into games.

The team worked hard to make sure it came into the season more prepared than it did last year, Stein said.

“I really like the way our group has come in this year,” he said. “Our fitness, our strength, our intensity, our level of play coming in into our preseason has been very good.”

Stein said it remains to be seen if the team can be in contention for championships, but he hopes the work ethic and drive he has seen so far continues.

“What I want us to do is come in everyday and focus in on what makes us a better basketball team and then do it,” he said.

Wascher said one focus for the team is focusing on the next play and not dwelling on previous plays.

“You miss a layup – next play or you get beat on defense – next play,” she said. “We have to focus on that next play not what happened.”

Stein said the team will face tough non-conference competition to start the season but that it will prepare them for that opening week in December when conference play begins.

Wascher said the team has worked hard to develop over the past year and there has been a lot of effort throughout the offseason to get better.

“In our conference especially, anything can happen on any given day,” she said. “But after looking at the games and the teams that we play I think we are going to have a pretty successful season.”